Townsend, Leadership Beyond Reason


John Townsend, Leadership Beyond Reason: How Great Leaders Succeed by Harnessing the Power of Their Values, Feelings, and Intuition. Thomas Nelson, 2009.

Referenced in: Intuitive Leadership Summary

Townsend’s premise is that great leaders succeed by harnessing the power of both the external world and the internal world. It does not argue for EITHER the external (rationality, skills, etc.) OR the internal (values, thoughts, emotions, intuition), but for BOTH. In fact there’s a whole chapter on the thinking process, and how to enhance thinking with the feeling/intuitive dimensions. The emphasis of the text, however, is the internal, that which is “beyond” reason. Leadership should not be irrational, but it is often beyond rational. The book affirms things most leaders know but don’t often articulate, e.g a gut decision that is incongruent with all the data may be the right thing to do, and ignoring your gut may be a mistake. We all use our inner selves to lead, but this book addresses why it is important and how to do it. It teaches readers how to “access what’s going on inside you, regularly and on demand, so that you can tap into that source.” (xix) Towsend reads well alongside literature on Emotional Systems and Emotional Intelligence.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

A human behavior expert reveals that what leaders know about themselves is more important than their leadership skills and job knowledge.

Who we are on the inside can determine leadership success more than what we do or what we know. In Leadership Beyond Reason, Dr. Townsend explores the critical role of the leader’s internal world, the world of passion, emotions, intuition, creativity, values, self-awareness, conscience, and spiritual life. Unveiling links between personal and organizational success or failure and the contents of a leader’s “heart,” the author shows that leaders excel not just through skill and smarts but by connecting with others using competencies, like curiosity, attention, reality assessment, distortion detecting, relationship building, ownership, and living with ambiguity. This is the leadership book only a world-respected psychologist could have written, and it is revolutionary in its insight.

About the Author

Dr. John Townsend is a psychologist, popular speaker, and the best-selling author and co-author of numerous books, including the Gold Medallion Award-winning Boundaries and God Will Make a Way. He is co-host of the nationally syndicated New Life Live! daily radio programme. He holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology at Biola University.

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